More than 50 Jackson residents attended the last scheduled public hearing Monday on four plans that would move ward lines in the city.
The most vocal were residents from Ward 7 and the Midtown neighborhood.
"I sort of sensed that they had strong feelings about it and that they would be here, and they were well represented," said Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon.
The Midtown residents that spoke say they have a strong connection with other Ward 7 neighborhoods, economic development, and new housing.
Midtown Neighborhood Association President, Jennifer West, says growth in Midtown is good for Jackson. She also believes everyone can be represented by keeping the neighborhood in its current ward.
"We wanted to make sure that those relationships stay in tact with the new zoning that is going on, and that we prefer, if we could possibly stay with that ward," explained West.
Option three sparked the most disdain for Midtown residents.
However, Supervisor Kenneth Stokes expressed support for the plan. He says the population shift of black and white residents requires more balance on the council, because the redistricting plan must be approved by the Department of Justice.
"It (the 2010 Census) showed that we had blacks to come into the city at a large number and you had whites leave the city at a large number. So, I think the only right thing and I think the only legal thing that's gonna happen is that you have to create another black (majority) ward," explained Stokes.
Barrett- Simon says she will not support option three. She lost residents in the census and doesn't want to lose more in Ward 7.
"It's a ward that I've represented most of since 1985, and I don't believe there will be much a lot of change there."
Stokes says any neighborhood can maintain good leadership and prosper with a black council person.
"The issues that they have there are serious issues. That's not gonna change because they elect a black over in Ward 7, that's not gonna change, and just to have blacks to come out and talk about other blacks like they, who ever becomes their council person is not qualified. I don't think it's right. It's not how the majority of the black people feel in this city or this state. I just think, again, you can find anybody to become a puppet but the law is clear," said Stokes.
Some residents complained they haven't had enough time to study the maps. However, they will be on display at City Hall until the city council votes on the redistricting plans.
Each council member had input on the four proposed plans. Options 1, 2, and 4 kept very similar ward lines.
The council could vote next week if they suspend the rules.
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